EuroHockey Championship 2019: Ireland women beat Russia to stay in top tier

Ireland's women were surprise runners-up at last year's World Cup
Ireland women's fifth place in Antwerp equalled their best finish at a EuroHockey Championship

Ireland's women defeated Russia 3-2 to finish fifth at the EuroHockey Championship in Antwerp as they retained their top-tier status.

Needed only a draw to remain in Europe's elite top eight, Ireland went behind in the second quarter as Bogdana Sadovaia put the Russians ahead.

But Nikki Evans levelled for the Irish just after half-time before Sarah Hawkshaw gave them the lead.

Aleksandra Leonova got Russia on terms before Katie Mullan's late winner.

Ireland women's win saw them avoiding the relegation which the men's squad suffered on Saturday following a 4-0 defeat by Wales.

The Irish women's fifth place equalled their previous best finish at the European Championships in 2009.

The squad's attentions will now turn to the Olympic qualifying tournament which takes place in Dublin in either the final weekend of October or the first weekend in November.